The deeper we all dig into the Common Core State Standards and North Carolina Essential Standards, the more we all agree — these standards reflect what students need to be able to know and do to be ready for college and careers.
Even though our teachers are going through the challenge of learning the new standards and writing new curricula, we have to admit that it is exciting to have the opportunity to frame what learning is going to look like across the region. Most districts have used their professional development days to group teachers intentionally by grade level or content area in order to ensure fidelity and horizontal alignment district-wide. And many have begun to share that work on our Region 7 wiki.
This is why now is the perfect opportunity to explore the impact Project-Based Learning (PBL) can have on our local curricula. Right now, teachers are working hard to learn the standards and to organize them logically. Soon, teachers will be asking the question, “How do we teach these standards?” A great place to start answering that question is with PBL.
The more we talk about changing the way the 21st century classroom operates, the more specific examples and support teachers need. Let’s face it. Most teachers were educated for 16+ years and trained to teach in a very different model than what the latest researchers proclaim as most effective. The best way to help teachers get comfortable with embracing this change is to not only share a clear expectation but also to provide specific examples.
Common Craft provides a clear, simple explanation of what PBL is and how this practice can transform any classroom.
If that isn’t exciting enough, there are some great PBL lessons out there complete with lesson plans, timelines, teacher reflections, handouts, and student examples! What more could you need to get started? Check out bie.org. This site is a great starting point for teachers interested in specifics about what PBL looks like in a classroom. You will find samples in the “Project Search” bar and support with how to begin your own project on the “PBL: Do It Yourself” page. A variety of videos, suggested resources and readings, and even a blog about current PBL happenings and events are available on this site. Check it out for yourself.
Sign up for a free account on bie.org (It takes less than 60 seconds and is completely free.) and get access to the template for creating PBL experiences for students. The template ensures that teachers take into consideration all important aspects of creating a project, It is simply amazing!